Gower Unearthed aims to rediscover and recapture Gower's history. We focus on the relationship between people and the natural environment, documenting and delivering what we uncover in a fresh and accessible way. We do this by forging links with local academics and local people of all ages. Sessions run all throughout the year and follow the Celtic calendar, focusing on the seasons and significant events.
A magical learning experience that combines myth and history with natural history - unearthing what makes Pennard castle and valley so special. Through story and practical science we will discover that Gower is peculiar, and has its own language and very rare plant life.
This session is unique - using original and ancient story, we look at how folklore and the people of Gower are inextricably linked. We will be concentrating on the symbiotic relationship that Gower's landscape and geological make up has with its mythological past. This session begins at ten am at Gower Heritage Centre in Parkmill. A brief introductory talk will precede a guided walk taking in Pennard castle. At the castle there is a re-telling of the traditional myth and an original eye witness account of the Gower 'verry' or fairy folk. The talk will explore geological and environmental impact of dune and sand changes - also the incorporation of natural phenomena in folktale.
We will also look in detail at the medicinal uses for plants from the start of the walk to its completion; with an illustrated discussion at the castle of the yellow whitlow grass. Lunch is scheduled for half twelve at the centre, bring a snack if you can't last!! After lunch there is an hour long workshop on story and poetry, with the opportunity to re-create in craft or words the days experience. We provide resources and information sheets to take away.
This day falls on the first of February and traditionally marks the first stirrings of spring. Our Silures walk through Penmaen Burrows looks at the reawakening of the earth after winter, on the new life of Spring and on the importance of trees to the Celtic people. Trees were seen as embodiments of the many gods and represented the seasons and forces of nature on whom these early farmers were dependent for survival.
Since the Christianization of Europe, a more secular version of the festival has continued in Europe and America. In this form, it is well known for maypole dancing and the crowning of the Queen of the May. Our hedgerow walk focuses on the abundance of the early summer offerings and looks at the traditions of May day, the contemporary version of Beltane.
The name Lammas (contraction of loaf mass) implies it is an agrarian-based festival and feast of thanksgiving for grain and bread, which symbolizes the first fruits of the harvest. Christian festivals may incorporate elements from the Pagan Ritual. Lammas is the focus of our Pwll Du walk, focusing on the harvest and the bounty of fruits available to forage.
Samhain is considered by some as a time to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, and other loved ones who have died. We take a look at either the castles at Pennard or Weobley at Samhain, now called Halloween, with a focus on the spirits from the other realm, our very own Gower fairies, ‘the Verry Volk’, ghost stories and magic!
SKILLS ON OFFER:
Story-writing for GCSE; looking at literature and landscape - exploring a sense of place. We provide inspiration and guidance for creative writing. We can also offer a session on understanding poetry and examine mans representation within the landscape and poetry. This will include local welsh poets and artists inspired by Gower.
By looking at the lives of Gower inhabitants we examine the effects of changes in society and the challenges at different periods of time. Pupils will be encouraged to think critically about the changing roles of small communities within Britain and the wider world.
We will look at the natural history of Gower, studying the changing landscape and investigating the effects of climate change. We specialise in combining a fieldtrip with a workshop session but we do offer the workshops as separate packages.
Sessions available include:
- Running from sand; Penmaen castle and the Iron age - The lost village of Llanelen; the curse and a Roman love story - A song for Kate; oral tradition, wrecking and the village of Rhossili - Fire and Ice; Vikings on Gower; tracing the trail - The red road: Welsh Arthur, A study of Cefn Bryn - Shaping the landscape; glaciers, stones and giants - John Voss, press gangs and revolt. Gower family names - War on the sands; Oxwich: A managed dune system and the relationship with world war two